The Note’s Must-Reads for Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Note’s Must-Reads are a round-up of today’s political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates Jayce Henderson, Jacqueline Fernandez and Desk Assistant Amanda VanAllen

PRESIDENT OBAMA / ADMINISTRATION: ABC News’ Devin Dwyer: “ Obama: If We Lose in 2012, Government Will Tell People ‘You’re on Your Own’” At a million-dollar San Francisco fundraiser today, President Obama warned his recession-battered supporters that if he loses the 2012 election it could herald a new, painful era of self-reliance in America. “The one thing that we absolutely know for sure is that if we don’t work even harder than we did in 2008, then we’re going to have a government that tells the American people, ‘you are on your own,’” Obama told a crowd of 200 donors over lunch at the W Hotel. LINK

The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny and Megan Thee-Brenan: “ New Poll Finds a Deep Distrust of Government” With Election Day just over a year away, a deep sense of economic anxiety and doubt about the future hangs over the nation, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, with Americans’ distrust of government at its highest level ever. LINK

USA Today’s David Jackson: “ Obama orders changes to student loan payments” President Obama continued his executive order tour Tuesday by outlining plans to help ease the debt burden of college students. “In a global economy, putting a college education within reach for every American has never been more important, but it’s also never been more expensive,” Obama said in a statement released Tuesday, a day before he’ll deliver a speech on the topic in Denver. LINK

Politico’s John Bresnahan and Manu Raju: “ Harry Reid: The last true Obama loyalist?“At a recent private lunch, a Democratic senator stood up to tell his colleagues that he missed the good ol’ days under former President Bill Clinton, a not-so-veiled shot at Barack Obama. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), perhaps Obama’s closest ally on Capitol Hill, was having none of it. Reid stopped the meeting and pointed out that Clinton was the inventor of “triangulation,” the tactic of playing Democrats and Republicans off against one another in order to help Clinton win a second term in the White House. LINK

G.O.P.: The Hills’ Josh Lederman Bernie Becker: “ Rick Perry tries to give his flat-lining campaign a flat-tax boost” Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) sought to reinvigorate his presidential campaign on Tuesday by unveiling a new economic plan, the latest in a series of steps to rebrand himself as a candidate of heft before his slide in the polls becomes irreversible. Perry’s plan also signified a challenge to both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and Herman Cain, his two primary roadblocks to the Republican nomination. Cain has surpassed Perry in the polls on the strength of his 9-9-9 flat-tax plan. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Alison Gendar: “ Rick Perry lays out tax reform proposal calling for a 20% flat tax rate” Republican Rick Perry laid out a tax reform proposal Tuesday that he hopes will catch on – like Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan – and revitalize his struggling campaign. The Texas governor promised to replace the monstrous 73,000-page tax code with a flat tax rate of 20%. “The best representation of my plan is this postcard,” Perry said, holding up an oversize index card. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Paul West: “ Rick Perry announces economic plan in bid to revive campaign” In a new attempt to reboot his troubled presidential candidacy, Texas Gov. Rick Perry proposed an economic plan Tuesday that would dramatically lower taxes on the wealthy, sanction private Social Security accounts and deeply slash federal spending on domestic programs. The Republican governor’s proposal would give Americans the option of paying a 20% tax or keeping their current rate, which now rises to 35% for the most wealthy. LINK

The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty and Perry Bacon Jr.: “ Republican candidates offer a diverse set of economic plans” At a moment when the fragility of the economy ranks at the top of American concerns, sharp differences have begun to emerge in how the leading GOP presidential contenders would solve the problem — illuminating not only a diversity in approach, but a striking contrast in the candidates’ governing philosophies. LINK

The Washington Times’ Seth McLaughlin: “ Perry plan makes flat tax optional” Hoping to breathe new life into his flagging presidential campaign, Texas Gov. Rick Perry rolled out a sweeping economic plan Tuesday that would give taxpayers the option of paying a 20 percent flat income tax, balance the budget by 2020 and cap federal spending at levels not seen since Lyndon B. Johnson was president. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Patrick O’ Connor and Neil King Jr.: “ GOP Unleashes TV Ad War” The race for president is entering a new phase as Republican candidates unleash a series of television ads in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early voting states intended to brand themselves and their rivals before the first ballots are cast in less than 10 weeks. Texas Gov. Rick Perry this week reserved airtime in Iowa to promote his state’s record of job creation. Rep. Ron Paul is in the middle of a two week, $2 million ad blitz in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS:Obama Talks Gadhafi, GOP and Halloween With LenoLINKHerman Cain Ad Features Smoking StafferLINK

BOOKMARKS: The Note: LINK The Must-Reads Online: LINK Top Line Webcast (12noon EST M-F): LINK ABC News Politics: LINK The Political Punch (Jake Tapper): LINK George’s Bottom Line (George Stephanopoulos): LINK Follow ABC News on Twitter: LINK ABC News Mobile: LINK ABC News app on your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad: LINK